BYU vs Utah Las Vegas Bowl NCAA Football Lines Preview
The Utah Utes and BYU Cougars will stage their latest edition of their longstanding Holy War showdown when they square off in the 2015 Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 19. The former conference rivals, who haven’t met in each of the last two seasons, will stage their first-ever postseason meeting in this contest, although one team looks like a clear-cut favorite to bring home the bacon to me. Now, let’s find out who has the edge in the college football odds!
How To Bet the Cougars vs Utes Las Vegas Bowl Odds, TV & Game Info
When: Saturday, December 19, 3:30 PM ET
Where: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada
NCAAF Odds: Utah -2.5
(Full College Football Bowl Games Schedule and Info Here)
Why Bet on the Utah Utes (9-3 SU, 5-7 ATS)
The Utes had far bigger plans this season after reaching the top 10 about two months ago, but losses to USC, Arizona and UCLA have completely derailed their championship hopes. Still, the Utes can finish with a double-digit win campaign by beating BYU in this contest, so they’ll have plenty of motivation. Utah comes into this contest off a narrow 20-14 win over lowly Colorado in their regular season finale, but will be without elite running back Devontae Booker after he went down to a season-ending injury against the Trojans.
Utah is making its ninth bowl appearance under head coach Kyle Whittingham and their second consecutive after back-to-back 5-7 seasons in 2012 and ’13. “We had the best record in the South, overall, and the second-best record in the conference overall — we were tied with Oregon but we beat them head-to-head — so that being the case, and then being in the sixth bowl (in the Pac-12 pecking order), that was, that was unique,” coach Kyle Whittingham told the Salt Lake Tribune on Dec. 7. “So we’ll leave it at that, I guess. It was just how the cards unfolded.”
Senior quarterback Travis Wilson leads a Utah offense that averages 30.2 points per game while All-Pac-12 first-team defensive lineman Lowell Lotulelei, linebacker Paul Gionni and safety Marcus Williams headline a defense tat allows just 21.8 points per contest defensively.
Why Bet on the BYU Cougars (9-3 SU, 8-4 ATS)
The Cougars won two straight to close out the regular season including an emphatic 51-28 win over Utah State on Nov. 28 as a 3-point road favorite. Unfortunately, the Broncos will be playing their final game for longtime head coach Bronco Mendenhall after their beloved leader accepted an offer to coach Virginia following a stellar 11-year run in Provo in which he compiled a fantastic 99-42 record that included 10 winning seasons and 11 bowl game appearances.
“We’ve had a pretty unique couple of days and for what I saw at practice today, I was encouraged,” said Mendenhall, who accepted the Virginia job last Friday, then said Monday that many of his assistants likely will be following him to Charlottesville. “We need a sense of normalcy. It was a relief to get back to practice and play the same roles we’ve been playing and fall into what we’re used to. The last little bit has not been what we’ve been used to. We all crave consistency. It felt good for everyone to get back to (practice) today.”
The Cougars will turn to record-setting freshman signal-caller Tanner Mangum to lead them to victory in this contest. Magnum has thrown for 3,062 yards and 21 touchdowns to set a school record in both categories while helping the Cougars average an impressive 34.2 points per game. BYU’s defense is led by senior end Bronson Kaufusi (11 sacks) and limits opponents 21.8 per contest defensively. Many of the team’s players say they’re going to play their ‘normal’ game despite the turmoil currently surrounding the program. “This week has been something new for all of us.
A coaching change is never easy,” said senior wide receiver Mitch Mathews. “When we showed up for practice, it was encouraging to see how much energy, poise and focus and how excited we are to play and get this last win for coach Mendenhall. Yeah, guys have questions about who’s going to be the coach and who’s gone and who’s coming in. But when we step on that practice field, that’s what shows up in the game. It’s a sign of how excited we are for the game.”
BYU @ Utah NCAAF Odds Game Analysis:
The Utah Utes may be limping in to this bowl game matchup with a uninspiring 1-2 SU mark over their last three games, but I also like them to get the win and ATS cover for a couple of reasons. First, the Utes are ticked off after collapsing down the stretch and second, BYU’s players have got to be feeling a bunch of mixed emotions knowing they’ll be laying for a head coach that has left them for greener pastures. While BYU has gone 5-2 ATS in their last seven games in the month of December, the Utah Utes have gone 8-2 ATS in their last 10 bowl games, 6-2 ATS in their last eight games in the month of December and a robust 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games against a team with a winning record.
Last but not least, Utah plays much better competition in the powerful Pac 12 than BYU does as an Independent and I believe that fact will help the Utes win and cash in with room to spare!
My Pick: Utah 34 BYU 28